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15 Causes of Premature Babies You Need to Be Aware of

One of the concerns that are often experienced by pregnant women is the risk of giving birth prematurely. You need to know, that premature birth itself occurs by several factors. So, what are the causes of premature babies? Check out the explanation below.

15 Causes of Premature Babies You Need to Be Aware of

Various Causes of Premature Babies

Before explaining the causes of premature babies, you need to know that a birth is said to be premature if it occurs before the 37th week of gestation. The earlier the birth, the higher the health risk.

Apart from being based on the time of birth, premature babies can also be defined by birth weight. Extreme low birth weight (less than 1000 grams), very low birth weight (less than 1500 grams) and low birth weight (less than 2500 grams).

The following are causes of premature birth that pregnant women must know, including:

1. Infection

The first cause of premature birth is infection. Infection itself is the cause of most of all cases of preterm birth. Some experts suspect that infection can cause inflammation resulting in the release of prostaglandin hormones that trigger the birth process.

Another suggestion is that bacteria in the infected genital tract can make the membranes around the amniotic fluid weaken, causing premature shedding.

In addition, other infections that can cause premature birth are sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis, as well as urinary tract infections that are not accompanied by symptoms. Urine examination is needed to detect bacteria.

2. Complications during Pregnancy

The next cause of premature birth is complications during pregnancy. Several complications during pregnancy such as high blood pressure, preeclampsia and problems with the placenta such as placenta previa and placental abruption can cause the baby to be delivered early.

3. Age during Pregnancy

Age that is too young to get pregnant (before 20 years) and too mature to get pregnant (over 35 years) can also be a cause of premature birth due to decreased function of the reproductive organs.

4. Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages and Illegal Drugs

Chemical substances contained in alcoholic beverages, cigarette, and illegal drugs can cross the placenta and cause premature birth. Therefore, never consume some of these substances.

Apart from penetrating the placenta, consumption of these harmful substances can interfere with the function of the placental blood vessels which supply nutrients and oxygen to the fetus. The impact of low birth weight to the risk of miscarriage.

5. Genetic Factors

In some cases, the cause of premature birth tends to occur in pregnant women who have blood relations with women who have experienced premature birth. Genetic factors are considered as factors that have an important role in the condition premature baby.

6. Cervical Abnormalities

Pregnant women who have an open cervix can encourage premature babies. In general, the doctor will strengthen the cervix so that the fetus does not come out.

7. Mother’s Health Condition

If pregnant women have high blood pressure, this can be a cause of premature birth. In addition, premature babies can also occur if pregnant women have diabetes, anemia, asthma, antiphospholipid syndrome, lupus, thyroid disorders, and inflammation of the colon.

In addition, several conditions during pregnancy can also be a factor in causing premature births such as placental abruptioncervical incompetence (weak cervix), or having surgery on the abdominal cavity during pregnancy.

Also Read: Kangaroo Mother Care, Effective Care for Premature Babies

8. Distance between pregnancies

The gestation period that is only six to nine months between the birth of one baby and the start of the next pregnancy is known to increase the risk of premature babies. Some experts suggest the best time between pregnancies is 18 months for you to have a healthy pregnancy.

9. Twin Pregnancy

There is a high risk of premature birth if you are carrying twins. The higher the multiple of twins, the higher the risk.

A study revealed, the average age of birth of twin pregnancies occurs in the slow preterm birth period, namely 34-36 weeks of gestation. This condition occurs due to the occurrence of spontaneous early labor and iatrogenic premature birth.

10. Cervical Abnormalities

Although this condition is rare, research has revealed that cervical abnormalities are associated with miscarriage in the middle of the third trimester.

The risk factor for cervical incompetence is even higher if you have a history of cervical surgery, miscarriage or abortion in the second trimester. In addition, the cause of premature birth increases in women who have a short cervix after undergoing uterine surgery.

11. Physical Stress

The increase in premature births is higher in pregnant women who experience stress at work. The cause of premature birth is physical stress such as standing for a long time or lifting heavy loads. If you are able to manage stress levels at work, then the risk of premature birth will not occur.

12. Premature rupture of membranes

Nearly a third of cases of premature rupture of membranes are responsible for the incidence of premature babies. Within 24 hours after the amniotic sac ruptures, the baby will generally be born.

In addition, the waters that break early are more at risk if the uterus and amniotic sac are too tense. This is caused by the number of fetuses in the womb of more than one or too much amniotic fluid volume.

13. Bacterial Vaginosis

Disruption of the balance of normal flora in the vagina can actually cause bacterial vaginosis. The aftereffect of this condition is the increase in preterm birth, especially at gestational age of less than 20 weeks.

14. IVF

A study revealed that the cause of premature birth is higher if the fetus is the result of IVF. Even so, the explanation regarding this research is not clear, so further research is still needed.

Also Read: 10 Ways to Take Care of Premature Babies at Home (Parents Should Know!)

15. Mental Conditions

Traumatic events that occur in pregnant women are associated with premature birth. So that this condition does not occur, the husband and those closest to him must provide support to pregnant women.

Apart from being traumatic, premature birth can also be caused by depression. Pregnant women who have new depression or recurrent depression have a 30-40 percent increased risk.

How to Prevent Premature Birth

After knowing some of the causes of premature birth, you can still take preventive measures. This is certainly useful for those of you who have a high risk of experiencing premature birth.

Here are tips for preventing what you can do for babies born prematurely, including:

1. Taking Hormone Supplements

If you have a history of giving birth to premature babies before, there is a possibility that your obstetrician will give you progesterone supplements. This supplement is used to prevent miscarriage and premature birth.

2. Cervical Cerclage

If your health condition poses a risk of causing your baby to be born prematurely, for example because you have a short cervix, your doctor may need to perform a surgical procedure.

This procedure is done by sewing the cervix so it can support the uterus. Later, the stitches will be removed when it’s time to give birth. However, again, this procedure is only done if your doctor recommends it.

Now, those are some of the causes of premature births that you should recognize. In addition to taking preventive measures, during pregnancy, check with your doctor regularly from the beginning of pregnancy until delivery.

  1. Anonymous. 2022. Premature Labor. (Accessed March 24, 2023)
  2. Anonymous. Premature Birth. (Accessed March 24, 2023)
  3. Rice, Calhoun Sandy. 2016. Premature Infant. (Accessed March 24, 2023)

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